Back before there was an internet, the fall season was a time of a traditional search for something to do with summer over and without all that social media to read. One tradition from my childhood was getting the Christmas catalogue from Eatons (which helpfully came out months ahead) and turning down the corner of the pages that showcased the really cool things I wanted.
I never got those things, of course. No one ever got the cool stuff; instead they got the cheap knock-off from Consumers Distributing, and it broke by Boxing Day. Because I’m still bitter over that, I’m here today to burst your fantasy trade bubbles. You see, you are the kid with the catalogue, turning down pages at Aaron Ekblad and Dougie Hamilton, and I’m going to show you what you’re really likely to get from every team in the NHL. It’s not the cool stuff.
You want Josh Manson, veteran right-shooting defender at only $4.1 million for two more years. The Ducks are going to offer you Erik Gudbranson, veteran right-shooting defender at only $4 million for one year. See! It’s a better deal.
No they won’t take Jeremy Bracco and a second for Manson.
You want Niklas Hjalmarsson, and you imagine you have a magic wand to make Arizona retain 50% and to make him waive his no-move clause. He’ll be a happy $2.5 million veteran defender at age 34, and be just as good as he was ten years ago.
The Coyotes will offer you Oliver Ekman-Larsson, under term for seven years at almost Pietrangelo money.
Even if you did want something of Buffalo’s, they offer you Risto, even you know that.
You want Rasmus Andersson, a young right-shooting defender who is locked up to six years at less than $5 million. So far he looks like a righty Travis Dermott (all transition, no offence), but the grass is always greener.
The Flames will offer you the rights to Mark Jankowski and Johnny Gaudreau if you send back Morgan Rielly.
You want Dougie— No! Wait! Jaccob Slavin— No! Brett Pesce!
They’d offer you Jake Gardiner, but Toronto is on his no-trade list. Brady Skjei is available for a forward worth three times what he brings in on-ice value.
You want Connor Murphy, a slightly aging right-shooting defender who is a little bit overpaid.
They’ll offer you Olli Maatta in hopes you’ve been asleep for five years and think he’s still good. If you say no to that, the rights to Slater Koekkoek are available. For a price.
Once bitten twice shy. Don’t take an Avs defender even if it’s Cale Makar.
Columbus Blue Jackets
You want David Savard, but what they’ll offer is Dean Kukan with Scott Harrington thrown in for the hell of it.
It might actually be worth it to ask about Markus Nutivaara though.
Do people want things from the Stars beyond the obvious stars the Stars won’t part with? I guess Esa Lindell still fools people, including the Stars, but there’s nothing to be found there.
Detroit Red Wings
Let’s pivot to beefing up the forward corps and get the rights to Anthony Mantha and sign him. Total upgrade on Johnsson.
I’m sure Steve Yzerman will make a totally reasonable deal. He won’t ask for anything you don’t want to pay.
Does anyone still want Adam Larsson? You might actually be able to get him, but $4.167 in cap hit is hard to fit on the Leafs.
Even though Florida already made the trade you don’t want, you still want Ekblad. He really is the next best thing to Pietrangelo and maybe even more of a perfect fit for the Leafs.
Florida is going to offer you a trip down memory lane and two years of Anton Stralman at $5.5 million.
Can you get Ekblad for Nylander? Maybe. I’m not sure that’s the path Florida is on, though.
Los Angeles Kings
I bet some of you want Drew Doughty because he’s just that famous, but the cool kids want Matt Roy now that Sean Walker is re-signed to term.
I bet the Kings would give up Roy for a price bigger than you’d want to pay in players younger than you want to lose. I’m not sure it’s worth it, even if it got negotiated down to something tolerable.
Everyone wanted Jonas Brodin’s imaginary right-shooting brother. What you’ll get offered is the actual right-shooting Matt Dumba, and I don’t think he’s worth his contract. I find him a confusing player to evaluate, however.
You wanted Jeff Petry, but Marc Bergevin burst your bubble before I could. You’ll settle for Brett Kulak, and they’ll happily hang up the phone because why the hell would the Habs trade with the Leafs when there’s the potential of increased in-division play this coming season?
You want Ryan Ellis, but you’re not deluded enough to think you can have him. You’ll ask for Dante Fabbro, and the Preds will laugh and offer you Steve Santini. Korbinian Holzer is UFA, though.
New Jersey Devils
You want Damon Severson, but the Devils really would love to trade you P.K. Subban.
New York Islanders
You think you can offersheet Ryan Pulock. I mean, some of you do. But he’s going to re-sign, and the real problem the Islanders have is finding a way to ditch one of their three big dumb deals — Ladd, Leddy and Boychuk. The only one that can be bought out is the only one worth keeping, so there might need to be a trade to a willing team like Detroit for one of the other two. I have faith that this sort of problem is right in Lou Lamoriello’s wheelhouse.
New York Rangers
This store looks empty. Someone points at Tony DeAngelo. Yup. Empty.
I’m not sure anyone wants anything from the Flyers, but next offseason, looking at Matt Niskanen coming off his almost six million contract might be interesting.
To heck with you and your Christmas list, I want John Marino. I don’t think the Penguins necessarily like him as much as I do, but they would want me to take Kris Letang to help them usher in the Mike Matheson - 1D years.
San Jose Sharks
No one wants any of the Sharks.
St. Louis Blues
We’ve been over this. You can’t have Colton Parayko, you can have his much older— wait, did you know Alex Pietrangelo is only three years older than Parayko?
Tampa Bay Lightning
You want to offersheet Erik Cernak, which is not going to happen, because he’d have to want to come to the Leafs, and he doesn’t. You can have Luke Schenn. Or maybe Kevin Shattenkirk if you behave.
Remember when we were young, and we all wanted Chris Tanev? Have we moved onto Troy Stecher yet? Or should we just move on to Vegas?
Vegas Golden Knights
Omar wants Zach Whitecloud. So do I after watching him in the playoffs. He just doesn’t do stupid things. He doesn’t panic, doesn’t try things he can’t do, doesn’t make boneheaded mistakes, and he would be an asset to any team. He is exactly the best kind of undrafted free agent signing, and they’d never give him up in a million years.
The cupboard is bare.
All the Jets want is to trade their forwards who score goals. They don’t have any defencemen.
And on that sad note from that very sad team, the bubble bursting has come to an end. I really do want Zach Whitecloud. Somewhere out there is a another undrafted player like him, and all Kyle Dubas has to do is find him. And I hope you’re as disappointed as me now.